Friday, December 7, 2007

Cheap Laptops for third world countries, guess who wants in

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There has been talk about the XO laptop computer part of the one laptop per child program, for a couple of years. The concept is simple a laptop that is durable made from simple hardware and runs a simplified user interface on the Linux Operating System. This laptop is designed to enable learning for young people in third world countries. Currently the cost to manufacture a XO laptop computer is $188.00 each but the program hopes to bring the cost down to under $100.00

One of the things that keeps the cost so low is the lack of Copyrighted commercial software. Guess who wants their software on the XO laptop? If you guessed Microsoft then you are correct. Microsoft announced that they are developing a slimmed down version of Windows XP for the XO laptop. That's all fine and well if they keep the cost low enough to keep the cost of the laptop down to the $100 price point. The problem with trying to run Windows on the XO laptop is the limited capibility of the hardware (433 MHz, 256 MB RAM 1GB Flash memory) Windows XP crawls on a PC with those specifications. Microsoft's other stripped down of Windows XP (Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PC's) takes 1.1 GB just for full install which what needs to be installed just to be usable for most users.

The XO laptop is aimed at educating children in countries struggling to provide basic school supplies. The XO laptop is being provided by western philanthropists. Getting people to buy Windows for XO laptops sounds like a pretty hard sell to me.

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